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Nadodikattu – II : An Interesting Conversation

January 10, 2009

We had a project lunch this week, and this is how it went………….

Our team of 5 was having lunch in an Indian restaurant called Indian Sweet and Spices here in LA and I was the only desi in that group. That group also included an inquisitive firangi called ES, two Iranians. So over some hot naans and chapattis, we were all generally talking about India…………….
At that moment, the song Marjaani from Billu barber comes up on TV and ES after watching the video for a few minutes says:

ES: Lots of color dude….
OG (ordinary guy): Yeah, our films tend to be like that.

ES: What does maarjohny mean?(He absolutely slaughtered the word)
OG: I dont know man, maybe it is a Punjabi word.

ES: No wait… this is Bollywood right?
OG: Yes, but Hindi is not my mother tongue so I might not know everything in it.

ES: So how many languages do you know?
OG: I know around 6 languages which include Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, English and a bit of Telegu and Marathi. (I bet that he had heard of none of them except Hindi and English).

ES: So that must mean you have traveled a lot.
OG: No actually, we Indians face the language problem when we even move within the country. But yes, Hindi is something that binds us as a whole.

ES: How is that possible?
OG: In India, we have around 22 official languages and totally around 415 languages, so as I was saying, it is difficult when we Indians don’t speak the same language.

ES: No ways dude, why do you have so many languages?
OG: You know what ES; I keep asking myself the same question.

ES: So do you follow Bollywood then?
OG: Bollywood is not the only film industry in India, we also have a well developed Tamil, Malayalam, Telegu, Kannada, Marathi and Bhojpuri film industry and I try and catch up on a couple of them as time permits.

ES (wanting to change the topic): so dude, this food is really great; you must be lucky to eat food like this everyday.
OG: Actually ES, We don’t eat chapattis at home as we are more rice eaters from where I come from.

ES: So you telling me that there are different cuisines in India?
OG: yeah, actually every state is different, from what the cuisine is to the culture; from the religion beliefs to the language. We are more like the “United States of India”.

ES: Then please tell me as to how on earth, are you guys still a single country?
OG: Good question, ES and this is a question which can be answered in many different ways (with a big smile).

****END OF CONVERSATION*************

What do you guys think????? Why is India still India??
PS: What does Marjaani mean?????????????

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Solilo... permalink
    January 10, 2009 10:03 pm

    Marjaani means I am falling for this person or I am dead seeing this beauty.

    BTW Billoo Barber is remake of Malayalam Film Katha Parayumbol.

    As for why all of us with such different culture, language, cuisine, religion are still together? A smile is the only answer from me as well.

  2. Indyeah permalink
    January 10, 2009 10:10 pm

    Hey Ajit!great post..humorous (for us:D)not for ES I am!

    …and conveyed a beautiful point……What exactly binds us together?:)will need time for this..its a really tough one..

    will get back to you..

    and oH!I don’t know what marjaani means except maybe as slang….and not really any meaning associated as such….because I have seen it used in such different contexts….(heard it so much..and I still dont know:))

  3. Ajit permalink
    January 11, 2009 12:18 am

    Thanks Solilo for the meaning…..
    and yes, BB is a remake of Kadha Parayumbol which was remade as Kuselan which is now being remade in Hindi……

    and yes, “The smile” can answer a lot of difficult questions….

    Thanks Indyeah…..
    Think about it…. I am also doing the same thing 🙂
    and Solilo has given us the meaning…

  4. Indian Home Maker permalink
    January 11, 2009 4:03 am

    LOVE this post!!!

    “ES: Then please tell me as to how on earth, are you guys still a single country?
    OG: Good question, ES and this is a question which can be answered in many different ways (with a big smile).”

    And in many different languages, and in many different colours, like saffron and green and white fluttering together 🙂

    I cook no food like my mom does, because I learnt to cook all over India, after getting married.
    We have sambhar with cauliflower and peas, Rajma with tamarind and curry patta tarka … and bajra roti with makki ka saag … Chinese with chilli and Italian with loads of pepper 🙂

    Hilarious post :)))

  5. Ajit permalink
    January 11, 2009 4:16 am

    And in many different languages, and in many different colours, like saffron and green and white fluttering together 🙂

    I agree…………. good one

    sambar with cauliflower and peas…. now that is something that I need to try sometime…. 🙂
    and the italian with pepper….

  6. Kislay permalink
    January 11, 2009 12:12 pm

    Interesting post man . I guess the idea of nationhood , according to that firangi , is based on common language / race or culture . But we are one nation because of shared historical experience , I guess . And for me , we have been a nation long before the brits were here . There was no Indian constitution or democracy , but the idea was there .

  7. Smitha permalink
    January 11, 2009 1:30 pm

    Wonderful Wonderful Post.. So true isn’t it? So diverse and yet together! Lets keep everybody guessing – just tell them that its the ‘Great Indian Secret’ 🙂

    By the way, I had an American client who once asked me on our Independance day ‘ Is that when you got Independance from Pakistan?’ 🙂

  8. Ajit permalink
    January 11, 2009 5:57 pm

    But we are one nation because of shared historical experience , I guess ……
    yeah, that is a good one……
    and the concept of Bharat did exist a long time ago….

    LOL 🙂 hahahahahahahahaha
    indep. from pakistan……
    good one….. what did you tell him…..

  9. Indyeah permalink
    January 11, 2009 6:32 pm

    @Smitha:-LOL!I did laugh out loud on that one…:D…

    and Ajit
    How about this?The eternal song…
    ”मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा तो सुर बने हमारा
    सुर की नदियाँ हर दिशा से बहते सागर में मिलें
    बादलों का रूप ले कर बरसे हल्के हल्के
    मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा तो सुर बने हमारा
    मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा …
    मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा …
    ………and goes on in 14 languages…:)(btw try explaining to ES that it still doesn’t cover ALL of our languages..:D should be a sight to!)

    ” The song’s lyrics are unique– One phrase, repeated in 14 Indian languages: “Mile sur mera tumhaara, to sur bane hamaara”, meaning “When my tune and your tune merges, it becomes our tune”.
    The song itself ends by fading into the final notes of the Indian National Anthem.”(from wikipedia)

    Been 20 -something years since it was created and yet this song has the power to move everyone ….The one we all grew up on and the one which puts it in the most beautiful manner I have ever seen in my life…:)I am aure you remember it too..Try explaining/translating this song for ES..:D..

    So here goes..The three links..
    Enjoy!The video ,the lyrics and the information on wikipedia respectively…

    feeling nostalgic now…:)

  10. How do we know permalink
    January 11, 2009 8:47 pm

    great post Ajit.. but i think one good answer would be that we truly focus on the common rather than the different. 🙂

  11. Ajit permalink
    January 11, 2009 9:14 pm

    Thanks Indyeah, that truly was a great reply……
    I had a look at the video and it felt me with a warmth that is so special…..

    Thanks…… for everything…

    Yes, we tend to focus on that…
    good one….

  12. Indyeah permalink
    January 11, 2009 9:29 pm

    you are most welcome Ajit…:)
    kept popping over to your blog to get the link to the lyrics…some problem with opening the site…trying to ..let’s see….:)

  13. Ajit permalink
    January 11, 2009 9:32 pm

    it works for me…..
    I am going over the lyrics now…

  14. Smitha permalink
    January 12, 2009 11:57 am

    @Ajit, I started to explain the whole story of British ruling us – when she said – oh so you were ruled by the British and the Pakistanis?’ 🙂 But this lady was an exception, – she once asked another colleague if we have cell phones in India – and he said ‘ No we just get on our rooftops and scream and people just pass it along :)’ We still do not know if she understood the sarcasm 🙂

  15. J P Joshi permalink
    January 12, 2009 3:40 pm

    Yes, this is always a subject that most foreigners cannot fathom…even we cannot, although we intuitively understand it.

    “Vasudeva Kutumbam”, most Indians relate to that.. they may not practice it though. India has through the ages had this fascinating habit of taking good from all corners of the universe.. never final … always a work in progress…our society reflects that….but then who can ever understand this great civilisation.

    Great post, as always…keep the tricolour flying… smiling may not be such a bad idea, after all.

  16. Ajit permalink
    January 12, 2009 6:05 pm

    Good one Smitha, she was really dunb……. 🙂

    and JP Joshi Sir,
    even we cannot, although we intuitively understand it.

    I agree…….

  17. Quirky Indian permalink
    January 13, 2009 6:13 am

    Interesting thought. Bhagwaan bharose is probably the only true answer. Trust me to play spoilsport.

    Doesn’t anyone else, like Jack Nicholson, ask the question “What if this is as good as it gets?”


    Quirky Indian

  18. Ajit permalink
    January 13, 2009 6:49 am

    Bhagwaan bharose….. please do not be pessimistic….. 🙂
    there are many who still believe in the ideals of our nation….

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